Kenya Rift Valley Lakes: Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo is one of the Kenya Great Rift Valley Lakes (Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Magadi, Lake Bogoria, Lake Logipi, Lake Elementaita and Lake Turkana). It is in Baringo County in a dusty and dusty remote location, the most northern lake of the Kenya Great Rift Valley Lakes after Lake Turkana.

It is one of the two freshwater lakes in the Kenya Rift Valley the other being Lake Naivasha.

In terms of the size, it is 130 km2 in surface area. It is fed by several perennial rivers including the Molo, Perkerra, and Ol Arabel.  These rivers rise from Tugen Hills, Mau Hills and Aberdare Range (Ol Arabel River). There is no visible outlet but it is assumed water seep through the lake sediments into the faulted volcanic bedrock.

The lake has several small islands. The largest of the islands is the Ol Kokwe Island about 1200 hectares and has several hot springs and fumaroles. Near the northeastern corner of the island, a group of hot springs discharge along the shoreline at Soro.

The closest town to the lake is Maringat and is usually visited by tourists. The main communities found in this town include the Rendile, Turkana, IIchamus and the Kalenjin.

Lake Baringo Animals/Wildlife

The lake is a critical habitat and home to a wide variety of birds- over 500 species of birds where some are migratory. They include Paradise Flycatcher, Marabou Stocks, Hemphrick’s Hornbill and many others.

There are several freshwater fish species including the Nile tilapia.

It is also home to a number of animals including the hippos, Nile crocodile, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Close Tourist Attraction Sites to Lake Baringo

  • Tugen Hills-an uplifted block of volcanic and metamorphic rocks lies to the west of the lake and has several important archaeological and palaeontological sites
  • Laikipia Escarpment which lies to the east of the lake
  • Perkerra Irrigation Scheme which is fed by the Perkerra River which lies to the south of the lake
  • Lake Bogoria
  • Dr Richard Leakey’s Snake Park located on the lake shore
  • Lake Baringo Reptile Park located at the lakeshore
  • Karbanet Museum for those interested in learning the history and culture of Baringo

Things to do in Lake Baringo

  • Boat safaris
  • Bird watching
  • Cultural visits to the Njemps  villages who are pastoralist, fishermen and agriculturalists
  • Island excursions to Lesukut, Samatian, and Parmalok

Lake Baringo Weather & Climate

Baringo temperatures vary between 25°C during the cold months (June and July) and 35°C during the hot months (January and February).

The area has two rainy seasons. The long rains are from March to June while short rains are from October to December. Annual average rainfall ranges between 1000 mm and 1500 mm in the highlands and 600 mm in the lowlands.

When to Visit

You can visit the lake all year round and maybe avoid the months when rainfall is at peak (April, May, August and November)

How to get there

The county has well-maintained roads. It is 277 km from Nairobi to Lake Baringo and 120 km from Nakuru. From Nairobi, you access the lake through Nakuru town.

There is also an airstrip at Kabarnet but no commercial flights fly to this airstrip. Only chartered flights organized by your tour operator.

Lake Baringo Hotels and Lodges

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